I, sadly, recently happened to take part in ‘mom’ conversations where some people were quoting articles on how Peppa Pig – yes, the children’s cartoon series – causes autism. It might sound comical but this is more serious than it looks. These kind of false/absurd/unfounded so called ‘articles’ and ideas are spreading fast and are responsible for creating a wave of ill-informed and confused parents who, filled with fear, refuse to vaccinate their children, among other such unwise and dangerous decisions.
However, a real and scientifically based study recently has found that the Autism Spectrum disorder is linked to mutations in some mitochondrial DNA. Zhenglong Gu of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and his colleagues published an article in the October 28th edition of PLOS Genetics in which they report their findings.
Although many studies have pointed towards malfunctions in mitochondria as a possible cause of autism spectrum disorder, its biological basis is still unclear.
[quote_box_center]’To see if a genetic link exists between mitochondrial malfunction and ASD, the scientists analyzed mitochondrial DNA sequences from 903 children with ASD, along with their unaffected siblings and mothers. They discovered a unique pattern of heteroplasmic mutations, where both mutant and normal mitochondrial DNA sequences exist in a single cell.'[/quote_box_center]
In other words, the children who were diagnosed with ASD had more than twice as many potentially harmful mutations compared to their siblings that didn’t suffer from the condition. Moreover, that researchers found these children also had 1.5 times as many mutations that would alter the resulting protein. It was explained that these mutations could be either inherited from the mother or happen as a result of spontaneous mutation during development.
[quote_box_right]Study of 903 affected children shows inherited, spontaneous mutations increase risk[/quote_box_right]
‘The scientists noted that the risk associated with these mutations is most pronounced in children with lower IQ and poor social behavior compared to their unaffected siblings. Carrying harmful mutations in mitochondrial DNA is also associated with increased risk of neurological and developmental problems among children with ASD. Because mitochondria play a central role in metabolism, these findings may help explain the metabolic disorders commonly associated with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders’.
Evaluating mutations in the mitochondrial DNA of high-risk families could help improve the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases.
Peppa pig does NOT cause Autism; Vaccinations don’t, either. Let’s focus our resources on finding out the real cause of such disorders so there can be a more hopeful future for our children!
[pull_quote_center]”Ultimately, understanding the energetic aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders may lead to entirely new kinds of treatments, and preventative strategies that would target mitochondria” – Zhenglong Gu [/pull_quote_center]